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6-year-old Boy and Grandparents Killed in Sixth Train Collision at CSX Crossing

By Pottroff & Karlin LLC |

(North Tonawanda, New York – May 17, 2024)

Two grandparents and their 6-year-old grandson in North Tonawanda were involved in a devastating railroad crossing collision after the family’s vehicle got stuck on the tracks and was struck by an oncoming train. On Friday, May 17, 2024, a little before 8 pm, the family was turning right onto Felton Street when they encountered the police making a traffic stop just ahead of them on the other side of the crossing. To avoid the stopped police officials on one side of the street and the resulting traffic stop vehicle that was being towed on the other side, the family maneuvered around the traffic and onto the crossing where they stopped to wait before continuing. A few moments later the horn was sounded for an incoming northbound Amtrack passenger train, and the crossing guard arms descended, trapping the family on the tracks. The family attempted to avoid the oncoming train and backed up to get off the tracks but failed to break through the descended crossing gate arms when their vehicle was struck by the Amtrack train. 

The collision occurred at a double track crossing owned and controlled by CSX Transportation Railroad at the corner of Felton Street and River Road, right along the Niagara River and across from the local marina. Amtrack and CSX have yet to release any information about the speed of the train, but Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) records show that trains usually travel through this crossing at 60 miles per hour.

Though the CSX crossing is equipped with lights and gates, it is unknown if they were functioning properly at the time of the collision. It is also not known at this time if there was an appropriate amount of warning time given before the crossing guard arms descended and the high-speed Amtrack train entered the crossing. 

All occupants of the vehicle, David McMinn, 69; Olive Geldart, 66; and Ra’Mari Geldart, 6, despite local EMS’s attempts at life-saving care, were pronounced deceased at the scene as a result of injuries sustained in the collision. David McMinn was driving his Dodge pickup truck with Olive, and they had just picked up Ra’Mari from his mother’s house when they encountered the CSX crossing. 

Unfortunately, this is not the first time an incident like this has occurred. There have been five prior collisions at this crossing, including the most recent prior collision in 2017. All the prior collisions involved an Amtrack passenger freight train that was estimated to be traveling between an average of 40 to 60 miles per hour. And according to CSX submitted records, this crossing sees a daily average of 10 trains at typical speeds of 50 to 60 miles per hour.

The family stated that David and Olive had been together for decades and that Ra’Mari loved spending time with his grandparents. Ra’Mari was a beloved student and classmate at Buffalo Public School Early Childhood Center 90. All three family members will be missed dearly.



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